US warned about impending ‘enormous surge’ of Covid cases
The US is facing as many as 140 million new Covid cases in the first two months of 2022, according to a new scientific model that warns the nation should be “expecting an enormous surge in infections” due to Omicron.
New data released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine warns the US could see a peak of 2.8 million new infections per day.
“We are expecting an enormous surge in infections,” said IHME director Dr Chris Murray, due to the “enormous spread of Omicron.” Unveiling the institute’s forecast, Murray claimed that its experts expect 60% of the US will be infected with Omicron “in the next two to three months.”
While the virus is expected to be widespread, transmitting through a significant number of Americans, Murray accepted that more than 90% of infected individuals might not show symptoms, with around 400,000 cases potentially being reported.
Despite the fast-spreading Omicron variant, Murray said that data shows the strain “is probably at least 10 times less severe” than the seasonal flu, meaning that it is unlikely to lead to soaring hospitalization rates.
While Murray is confident in his assessment, not all medical professionals agree with how widespread Omicron will be. Professor Julie Swann from North Carolina State University, said that, although it could be a “potential outcome,” it is “not certain” that the new variant will infect as many people as predicted.
In a bid to control the spread of the new strain, US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that his administration will provide 500 million free home tests to try and identify cases before they can cause an outbreak.
The US has recorded over 51.8 million confirmed cases of Covid since the pandemic began, according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins University.